INVESTIGATORS are set to publish their final report on the Clutha helicopter disaster later this month.

It is understood the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) expect to release the findings of their long-running inquiry into the tragedy on October 21.

It is the first time that those injured or bereaved by the crash will learn what caused Police Scotland's only helicopter to plummet onto the roof of the Clutha Vaults pub in Glasgow on the night of Friday, November 29 2013.

The Eurocopter EC135 was returning from a routine operation when eyewitnesses said it "dropped like a stone", killing pilot Captain David Traill along with police constables Tony Collins and Kirsty Nelis.

Seven people who were inside the busy Clydeside venue at the time also lost their lives.

A draft report setting out the conclusions of AAIB experts was circulated to the legal teams representing so-called "interested parties" in April to allow them the opportunity to respond to and challenge its contents, which will underpin any decision by the Crown Office to launch criminal proceedings or a Fatal Accident Inquiry.

However, the circulation list was limited only to legal teams acting on behalf of those who could potentially face criticism, such as the operator Bond, Police Scotland, the aircraft's manufacturer Airbus Helicopters, and the pilot.

Lawyers for the victims' families have yet to see the report.

Andrew Henderson, a partner with Thompsons Solicitors, is currently representing many victims who were severely injured in the accident as well several families who lost loved ones.

He said: "If the final report by the AAIB is released on October 21 it will come not a moment too soon for my clients.

"As well as dealing with their terrible injuries and the grief of losing a loved one the lack of answers as to what caused the crash has taken its toll.

"In my experience of representing those caught up in this type of catastrophic event the process of grieving and coming to terms with what happened is helped a great deal by being given real answers as to the cause. This is particularly true of the Clutha tragedy where people have had to wait a very long time for the authorities to give them any concrete information. It is absolutely vital that when the final report is released that it gives the victims clear, precise information and a firm conclusion. Once this happens it is our hope that the Crown Office can move towards holding a Fatal Accident Inquiry as quickly as possible."

It comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly criticised the length of time it was taking investigators at the AAIB - a branch of the Department for Transport - to publish their findings.

She urged UK Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to "take any necessary steps to expedite" its publication, and urged him to make sure it was released before the second anniversary of the crash.

An interim report, published in February 2014, said the aircraft's left and right engines had flamed out within seconds of each other after being starved of fuel despite 76kg remaining in the main tank.

Crucial switches, which control the flow of fuel from the tanks to the engines, were found in the off position when they should have been on throughout the flight.

How they came to be turned off was one of the key mysteries facing investigators.

A series of low fuel warnings had also been triggered by thermal sensors in the tanks, along with warnings relating to the rotors and autopilot failure, but there was nothing to indicate that the helicopter was in trouble when Captain Traill requested permission to return to base at 10.18pm - four minutes before the crash.

No mayday was issued and no emergency landing, or "autorotative descent", appeared to have been attempted.

A spokesman for the AAIB said they would not provide a "running commentary" on the report's progress.

He added: "The report is being reviewed and will be published in due course."